Yes, You Can (and Should) Take Vacation Days in Quarantine
Here are dozens of ways to escape without leaving home
In quarantine, vacation days seem like a relic from another era. If you’ll only be journeying from one end of your apartment to the other, why bother? Especially if you had to cancel an actual vacation — your big family camping trip, or that beach getaway with your best friends from college, or the world pastry tour you’ve been planning for months — the idea of taking a day to just stay inside right now can seem depressingly pointless.
But if you’re privileged enough to have a job that offers paid time off, it’s important that you take advantage of it, even now.
Whether or not we’re in a pandemic, Americans are notoriously bad at taking our vacation days. According to a study by Glassdoor, the average U.S. employee uses only about half of their eligible vacation time. But taking time off not only improves your mental health, but it’s also good for your career: A report by the U.S. Travel Association revealed that those who use all or most of their earned vacation are 28% happier with their employer, and 24% happier with their job. Another study by the Society for Human Resource Management reported that employees who took more of their vacation days outperformed those who took less.
And with many people currently feeling taxed not only by the stress of the virus, but also by family tensions, shifting values, and a lack of a clear line between home and work, taking time to reset is more critical than ever. Here’s how to make the most of a vacation day while stuck at home.
Disconnect. No, really.
If you’re taking a vacation day, you need to disconnect from your email, Slack, and all other ways that people from work can contact you. Turn your phone to Do Not Disturb mode, or tuck it away completely. Pretend you’re on an island vacation, and the only Wi-Fi available is the expensive, unreliable connection in the lobby.
Avoid checking the news and social media, too. A day sitting on your sofa while refreshing Twitter will not leave you feeling renewed.